Sunday, 26 April 2015

Love Sewing Magazine Kimono II

My last two projects were made from quite heavy fabric- quite wintery really, so I fancied knocking up something quick and summery now the sun has finally decided to make an appearance.

The last kimono I made back in October was a medium, but it has always been a snudge too big, so I shrunk the pattern down to a small before cutting the fabric. The pattern instructions are quite straight forward, however after stitching up in french seams it became quite obvious that the fabric had a bit too much body to get away with it. The seams were quite bulky and really affected the way the fabric hung. I took out the side seams and just sewed them up with a straight forward seam. This is the second time I've been caught out by thinking french seams would be a good idea, so I'm really going to assess whatever fabric I buy in future to check the body vs drape factor. This fabric overall did have a bit too much body to hang quite the way I wanted it to, the result being quite a boxy shape that is maybe difficult to look flattering. So perhaps unconventionally I am more comfortable with it knotted at the front.

The neckband was sewn on by hand, which I am really getting the hang of now after having hand sewn the waistbands on my skirts and the neck ties on my Lottie blouses! It's still tedious but love being able to hide my stitches neatly.

I'm struggling slightly to figure out what to wear this with. It looks pretty good here with my post-break-up bod and not much underneath, but until the sun is absolutely blazing here in Sheffield I don't think the world needs to see my tum! I tried a black vest, but I think I need something with a bit more contrast to make the most of the sheer quality of the fabric.

I have my eye on some more fabric at Hillsborough Fine Fabrics that is much more drapey so keep your eyes peeled- that might be next weeks task...


Currently listening to: Jungle Cat, Tiger Army

Love Sewing Magazine/Simple Sew, Wiggle Skirt II

This is my third skirt using the Lottie/Wiggle Skirt pattern from Love Sewing Magazine. The shape of the skirt is absolutely perfect for work. I wanted to make my third using some felty fabric, ideally I was looking for plain black, but this pinstripe fabric at £5.99 p/m was just the texture I was looking for. I had bought some cute little anchor buttons the week before with it in mind that I would sew them to the front of my next skirt alongside the front darts.

When cutting the pattern, I used my offcuts again from the first Lottie skirt to make sure the sizing was correct. I really need to commit this pattern to paper! I did however change the side seams a little this time, taking a little more in from the back towards the hemline to help accentuate my hips!

I finally plucked up the courage to use my twin-needle along the hemline. I've always been put off from using it as you have to do it from the top and can't always tell if you are catching the hem on the otherside. I was particularly proud of the finish though- something I will definitely be doing again!

I was much more precise when inserting my zip this time. I made sure the zip tag was right at the top of the waistband, which can be tricky when inserting before the whole skirt is assembled. Also had to focus on getting the pinstripes on my bum equidistant from the zip! Think I did okay...

Overall I think this is the best skirt I have made so far, simply due to the shaping and fit which I tweaked as I went along to make it more flattering. Next time I make a skirt I do fancy drafting my own as there seems to be quite a few tutorials online. Then hey, maybe when I've mastered that the next step will be lining the damn thing...


Currently listening to: 7 Years Down, Rancid

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Love Sewing Magazine Quilted Dog Coat and Wiggle Skirt

Easter weekend was a fruitful few days for sewing! Over the weekend I finally got time to start what I have wanted to do for a while now, and make a coat for my dog!

I used the free pattern from Love Sewing Magazine issue 10. It took my quite a while to settle on what fabric to use, as my idea was to make myself a matching skirt. I fell in love with some grey woolen fabric with a pink pinstripe but knew Marble wouldn't really appreciate the pink. We settled for some checked black and white fabric from Hillsborough Fine Fabrics at £7.99 p/m.
The Dog coat is lined with some left over dalmatian fabric from the dress I am working on at college and quilted with a layer of fleecy fabric also from Hillsborough fine fabrics. The stash also included shop-bought bias-binding, which I used for the first time as I really didn't fancy making 5 metres of my own!

Step one is to cut all three layers of the fabric to the same size and then mark out lines to make diamonds for quilting. The magazine suggests spacing them 2 inches apart, but I just used the width of the ruler to make life a little easier. I used pink tailors chalk to mark these lines out, but it seems to have permanently marked the fabric! I could have used pink pinstripe fabric after all! I'm hoping after a bit of wear or the odd rain shower this will fade...!
Despite the process being just stitching straight diagonal lines, quilting is actually what took the most time! I read that without using a walking foot, sewing three layers can result in the top layer sliding around a bit, so I had the brainwave to do the whole thing with my zipper foot, on the thinking that it wouldn't shift the top layer as much as a regular foot would. Without actually having tried it with a regular foot I can't tell you if this was a good idea or not, but I didn't have much trouble with my layers mis-aligning, so I guess it wasn't a bad idea.

Once the fabric is all quilted it's time to cut out the pattern. Then all that's really left to do is stitch on the binding all the way around the edge and apply the velcro. This project was a nice break from all the shaping that usually comes with making as this pattern is essentially just 2D. The magazine suggests sewing on a collar, but I didn't really fancy it, and also a button hole for the dog's lead to go through, but I think that must be for dogs on harnesses.

The hardest thing about making this was getting the correct sizing while trying to measure a dog who has no idea what's going on. He seems quite happy to wear it now it's made though.

Second make over Easter weekend was my matching skirt (without pink chalk lines on this time!). I used the Wiggle Skirt pattern also from Issue 10 of Love Sewing, but found it is exactly the same as the Lottie Skirt. I didn't mind too much though as I was eager to make another Lottie skirt anyway as I have been wearing my blue one quite a lot at work.
I made a few alterations on my first Lottie skirt, which I never applied to the paper pattern, but luckily I did save the bit I cut off of my first skirt. I drew round this onto my checked fabric so that this skirt would fit the same. Genious!
The main difference, besides this fabric being much thicker, was that this time I DID use interfacing on the waistband, which was a much better idea than not using it!

I was pretty pleased with myself for getting the skirt fully made in a day! I'm really happy with both the fabric and the fit. I can't wait to wear it to work! The thicker fabric really suited the style... And I got away without adding a lining! I am really going to have to pluck up the courage and make something with a lining, maybe next time!


Ps, who spotted the sneaky matching hairbow? Do I have too much time on my hands?

Currently listening to: If Love Was a Plane, Brad Paisley

Monday, 6 April 2015

High Waisted Panel Pants

Having completed the projects I'd planned for my easter break with one day to spare I thought I would knock together something speedy.
I've been planning for a while to modify 'So Zo..'s pants pattern and make the waistline a little higher. So that's what I did!

The pattern adjustments were pretty simple, just a case of extending the height by around 1 and a half inches. I divided the original pattern into panels as I have done in the past- one red velvet panel in the front, two lace panels either side and also a lace panel that was sewn on the outside of the gusset.

The assembling seemed to run very smoothly today. The only bit still needing practice being applying the lace around the leg holes. It's still pretty fiddly! I think this time the stitch I used was a little too wide, but the thought of unpicking and redoing didn't seem appealing.

I'm really happy with the fit, especially to say that the pattern adjustments I made were pure guesswork. I didn't pull the elastic too tightly when stitching it on, so they fit quite comfortably just above my hips. The should sit quite nicely under my new high-waisted skirt I made yesterday!

Next up I'm tempted to try and make a matching suspender belt from the fantastic Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book, as I have some red velvet left and have also noticed some suspender clips in my local haberdashery.

Happy Easter fellow sewers!


Currently listening to: Can't hold Us Down, Christina Aguilera ft. Lil' Kim